Get Out (2016) - Jordan Peele
Jordan Peele's Get Out is a brilliant piece of genre filmmaking, a film that cohesively blends horror sensibilities with its pointed social commentary about cultural assimilation and race relations, delivering a film which manages to thrill while simultaneously raising poignant questions about the African American experience in the United States. Centered around Chris Washington, a young African-American photographer, Jordan Peele's Get Out chronicles the exploits of this young man as he is roped into visiting his Caucasian girlfriend's family in upstate New York, as the couple has officially reached the 'meet-the-parents' milestone in their relationship. On his arrival, Chris is greeted in an overly accommodating manner by his Rose's family, behavior which Chris attributes to nerves related to their daughter's interracial relationship, but as the weekend unfolds, a series of increasingly bizarre and disturbing occurrences begin to present themselves, with Chris slowly coming to the realization that he himself may be in great danger, due to the color of his skin. From a horror perspective alone, Jordan Peele's Get Out is a twisted, psychological horror film that keeps the viewer intrigued for much of its running time, but where the film excel is its uncomfortable deconstruction of white liberalism in America, where accommodating pleasantries and special treatment mask the underlying racism which exists. Get Out is fixated on exhibiting how the most dangerous threats of racism tend to be the most indirect ones, detailing how Rose's family, a rich, upper-class white family from upstate New York, couldn't be more cordial and inviting to her African American girlfriend, with their racism lurking much more in the shadows. Coming from a VERY 'blue state' and I don't think this is a coincidence, the family members of Rose's family couldn't be more inviting and cordial, but reading between the lines of their kind words reveals an underlying racism, one in which Chris' identity is completely defined by the color of his skin. Many of these characters, while kind in their words, speak in Chris in a manner in which they view all black people as one in the same, with perhaps Get Out's greatest attribute being its ability to capture the collective mindset. All of these individuals view Chris with this collectivist mindset, defining him via their preconceived notions, placing him in the same narrow-minded box which all African American's fit for them, defining him by his skin as opposed to his own individual attributes, like his photography, which is relatively ignored by white suburbia, who can't seem to get enough of his physical attributes. These characters by-and-large are far more interested in signaling their virtue and "progressive" ways of thinking as opposed to getting to know Chris as an individual, and as the film progresses it becomes clear that this is due to their desire for assimilation into their way of life. This is where the convergence of the horror narrative and the social commentary adhere beautifully, as in the back-half of the film it becomes apparent that Rose's family, quite literally, is attempting to assimilate Chris into their way of life through psychological manipulation, and eventually fantasy-horror type brain transfer, with the film racing towards its thrilling conclusion. Chris is routinely complimented for his physique or 'good genetics", but rarely for his photography or general personality traits that make him distinct as an individual, with it becoming clear that Chris is only valuable and accepted by these members in this community if he assimilates and accepts their rules. Get Out uses a fun, thrilling horror narrative to comment on the deconstruction of black culture in America, where mainstream white culture, mostly led by liberals as opposed to conservatives throughout American History, has made it hard for minority groups, specifically African-Americans, to maintain their own, individual culture. Get Out isn't about politics per se, it's about the individualism, as Chris throughout the narrative is routinely identified by the color of his skin, as opposed to his own individual interests and personality. Jordan Peele's Get Out is thrilling, funny, and socially poignant, a rare peace of filmmaking that manages to deliver both populice thrills while also touching on some deeper seeded social issues as it relates to race and culture in the United States of America.
Leave a Reply.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.